January 27, 2014

2014: Craig Yu @ Devening Projects

Above: Craig Yu, foreground, "The Town Centers," background, at Devening Projects + Editions on January 26, 2014.
Craig Yu
"Phantom Limb"
January 26 - March 1, 2014
Devening Projects + Editions
3039 W. Carroll Street
Chicago, IL



Like some large format film cameras, 4x5 is the aspect ratio of the paintings in Craig Yu's current show.  Playing on that photographic reference, Yu favors the landscape over the portrait orientation.  And, not surprisingly, that's his chief subject here: the landscape, whether real, or imagined, or a surreal combination of the two.  With regard to rendering, if some colors have been called "loud," Yu's palette seems good to call "quiet."  Too, the works are not large.  In combination, the subtle tonal variations, the small scale, and the ambiguity of the subject matter, coax a slow, close approach.  As a regular viewer of contemporary art in Chicago, it's sort of rare not to be visually pummeled by an artist who aims to deprecate painting, and especially the commodity value thereof.  Pleasantly, the artist himself presents in a manner like unto the artworks; and that reinforces the rather genuine nature of the undertaking.

Above: "The Town Centers," 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas over panel, 2013
Above: Craig Yu's "Phantom Limb" installed at Devening Projects + Editions, January 26 - March 1, 2014
Above: "Samples," 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas over panel, 2010–2013
Above: "The Mountain," 16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas over panel, 2013, in foreground
Above: At Yu's opening, January 26, 2014, Wes Charles speaks to Nick Lippert in the lobby of 3039 W. Carroll Street.
Above: At Yu's opening reception, January 26, 2014, Nick Lippert at the door of 3039 W. Carroll Street.
Images (1-7) January 24, 2014;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

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